Market leader Toyota is confident overall new car sales in Australia will return to the magic one-million unit mark this year.

    New car sales in Australia totalled 916,968 during 2020, the lowest annual tally since 2003, despite rebounding in the final quarter.

    It was the first time the market failed to top one million units since 2009.

    As we reported in our monthly wrap this week, sales continue to rebound in 2021. The year-to-date (YTD) tally sits at 263,648 units for the first quarter (Q1), up 13 per cent over 2020.

    Perhaps more importantly, the private market is up 22.6 per cent, while business fleet sales are only up 3.2 per cent. Once these business purchases begin to rebound, the market momentum will only grow.

    Lending the industry more confidence, March-only sales were up 22 per cent to a tick over 100,000 units.

    Given April, May and June 2020 were all disastrous sales months (the first-half of 2020’s sales were the lowest in nearly two decades), expect to see continued double-digit monthly growth over the next 90-120 days.

    “The industry is indeed on its continuing growth pattern,” Toyota Australia’s vice-president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, told us this week.

    “It’s clear we’re back to a new normal that will translate to continued growth based on year-on-year comparisons. As a result we are optimistic that 2021 will return to a total market approaching one million, if not a smidgen over.”

    Toyota’s market analysis is particularly worthy on account of its commanding 21.4 per cent market share.

    The company has sold 56,513 new vehicles this year, up 12.9 per cent. That’s more than double the market’s number-two brand, Mazda.

    Hanley said the company remains gratified by the “enormous consumer trust in our brand”, before adding that nearly 15,000 of its sales this year – 26 per cent of its total – were petrol-electric hybrids.

    By most accounts the industry-wide growth figure would be even higher if dealerships nationwide weren’t hampered by lack of new-car stock – a trickle effect of car factories worldwide being shut down during COVID-19 lockdowns.

    “It is possible that the result could have been even stronger if some brands had not been impacted by delivery constraints in global factory supply chains,” said Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber this week.

    “It is our expectation that these delivery issues will continue to be resolved during the coming months.”

    Q1 sales by year:

    • Jan-Mar 2021 sales: 263,648
    • Jan-Mar 2020 sales: 233,361
    • Jan-Mar 2019 sales: 268,538
    • Jan-Mar 2018 sales: 291,538
    • Jan-Mar 2017 sales: 279,345
    • Jan-Mar 2016 sales: 285,328
    • Jan-Mar 2015 sales: 277,594
    • Jan-Mar 2014 sales: 266,370
    • Jan-Mar 2013 sales: 273,048
    • Jan-Mar 2012 sales: 260,122

    Q1 of 2021 market-share by top segments:

    • Medium SUV – 18 per cent
    • 4×4 Utes – 17.1 per cent
    • Small SUV – 14.4 per cent
    • Large SUV – 11.6 per cent
    • Small Cars – 11.3 per cent

    Q1 of 2021 sales by region:

    • ACT – 4536, down 31.2 per cent
    • NSW – 85,328, up 14.3 per cent
    • NT – 2374, up 38.5 per cent
    • Qld – 56,497, up 22.1 per cent
    • SA – 17,010, up 16.5 per cent
    • Tas – 4245, up 10.5 per cent
    • Vic – 67,549, up 3.9 per cent
    • WA – 26,289, up 25.8 per cent

    Q1 of 2021 sales by brand, top 10:

    BrandQ1 salesGrowth

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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